Over the last two years, the smartphone landscape has changed dramatically, we have been introduced to phones that comes with beautiful metal unibody design, super slim form factors and the highest display resolutions, it seems that these tangible upgrades are almost reaching the ceiling for growth and till then there hasn’t been any breakthrough in hardware design from any smartphone manufacturers. Samsung, still known as the ‘King of Androids’ by many despite facing strong competition from Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi , Huawei and Oppo, has managed to make its products relevant to the market this year once again with the introduction of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, what packs inside the Korean firm’s latest bad boy isn’t just about its all new design but also its all new crazily powerful hardware that could literally be your personal computing device. Of course, this is a smartphone, but if its hardware internals were to be made into PC hardware, I won’t be surprised.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Hardware Specifications

Processor: Samsung Exynos 7420 64-bit Octa-Core 2.2GHz+1.7GHz (14nm, FinFET)

RAM/ROM: 3GB/32GB (up to 128GB flash storage)

Display: 5.1″ Quad HD (2560×1440) Super AMOLED with Gorilla Glass 4

Camera: 16MP Sony BSI f/1.9 O.I.S (Rear), 5MP f/1.9 (Front)

Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, BT 4.1, NFC, Fingerprint Scanner, HR Sensor, UV Sensor, IR Blaster

Networks: 4G LTE Cat 6/DC-HSPA+/GSM

Battery: 2600mAh with built-in Wireless Charging

Hardware and Design – A whole new Samsung

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You are not seeing the wrong thing, the Galaxy S6 edge is in fact the most beautiful smartphone that Samsung has ever made after a few years sticking to hyper-glaze plastic coating and plastic bodies, the company isn’t ripping off any design cues from any manufacturers in its overall outlook but has in fact made a new face for itself – front and back Gorilla Glass 4 protected glass and an extremely beautiful steel frame that reminds us of a modern iPhone.

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During the first few days of using the phone, the S6 edge is just like a WOW factor to anyone who happens to notice it, the dual-sided Edge screen is the thing that catches anyone’s attention and because it is so unique, sales persons around Samsung stores have been telling me that the S6 edge sold better than the S6 itself despite being RM500 more expensive.

I’ve used both the S6 and S6 edge in person and there’s just one thing that the S6 edge wins me over – one handed usability. Now, the Galaxy S6’s screen bezels are as thin as the S6 edge however with the curved edges on the display, the S6 edge makes it even more possible for my thumb to reach across the entire screen area comfortably.

The Edge screen does have some pluses over the standard S6 and brings some features from the Galaxy Note Edge, you will be able to see news feeds, weather, stock quotes and many other features that you can download from the Samsung App Store. Compared to the Galaxy Note Edge, you will notice that Samsung has made the S6 edge’s display less curvy and you are not able to place app shortcuts and access notifications from a full screen app on the Edge screen.

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Despite looking flashy and premium, the platinum gold model of the Galaxy S6 edge we have right here is a fingerprint magnet, though those smudges will go away with a wipe you definitely would not want to see them there affecting the handsome look of your device. In addition, the physical home button is still a pain if the phone is in your pockets, which at times activates the camera automatically with accidental double taps if you move too much and this is probably why you will to purchase a separatecase to go with the Galaxy S6 edge.

Similar to the Galaxy S6, Samsung has not allowed memory expansion and removable battery on the S6 edge which is due to the slim hardware design and dense hardware internals and with that, Samsung made this all up by offering the fastest eMMC 5.1 flash standards and built-in wireless charging, which I’m personally satisfied enough as a person coming from many phones with the same hardware aspects.

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The S6 edge’s fingerprint scanner is one of the best hardware change that Samsung has made, instead of swiping down your finger it only requires you to touch just like Apple’s Touch ID, its sensitivity is also improved with the most recent software update. Despite of that, it is not the best fingerprint scanner on an Android device but it will serve you well enough as a security feature.

At the end of the day, we have got to give our thumbs up to Samsung and its effort on ‘Project Zero’, the Galaxy S6 edge’s design is extremely appealing to many friends that I’ve approached and I believe this is definitely just the beginning of a new smartphone design from Samsung – don’t forget, we still have the Galaxy Note 5 coming later this year.

Software – Finally, a smoother TouchWiz, some Android features removed

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The Galaxy S6 isn’t Samsung’s only intention on getting a hardware done right, software has been another concern on previousGalaxy flagships as they come preloaded with unwanted bloat and taking a huge chunk of internal storage. TouchWiz hasn’t changed too much in terms of its flat and cartoonish design, it still isn’t the lightest smartphone software but with the powerful hardware and 64-bit support on Android Lollipop, Samsung’s proprietary software is finally has fluid transitions and it gets better with three software updates throughout our review period.

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The Galaxy S6 isn’t Samsung’s only intention on getting a hardware done right, software has been another concern on previousGalaxy flagships as they come preloaded with unwanted bloat and taking a huge chunk of internal storage. TouchWiz hasn’t changed too much in terms of its flat and cartoonish design, it still isn’t the lightest smartphone software but with the powerful hardware and 64-bit support on Android Lollipop, Samsung’s proprietary software is finally has fluid transitions and it gets better with three software updates throughout our review period.

Despite having lesser preinstalled bloatware, Samsung has still preloaded some of its essential apps such as S-Health and S-Voice, Microsoft’s Skype, OneDrive and OneNote has also been included as part of the software experience, in which users will get 25GB of free OneDrive storage upon signing in with a Microsoft account.

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Samsung’s default apps have finally adapted Android Lollipop’s material design, the phone screen calling app is now easier to navigate with nice contextual buttons, the messages app gets more fun and even lets you configure message bubbles, the e-mail app has also gotten much better with faster load speeds with gestures and lastly, the Music app has got a whole new appealing design. This is literally the largest software change Samsung has made to its software experience and I absolutely love it – Period.

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Themes have recently become a pretty huge thing on Android smartphones since the inception of third party launchers followed by Chinese smartphones such as Xiaomi’s MIUI theme store, Samsung has offered the similar feature by allowing users to download themes from its App Store and it already has an impressive collection of it, I’m personally more of a fan of beautiful wallpapers but I have to say Samsung’s theme engine is pretty good in terms of quality and performance management.

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Although most new features of TouchWiz have benefited users, there are still some downsides of the software. For instance, the app drawer does not allow you to categorize apps and folders alphabetically, lock screen widgets and fast scrolling between pages are no longer possible and lastly, there is no way of disabling the Flipboard’s news feed, which can sometimes get annoying with its slow load times.

Camera – Best in class on an Android device

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Samsung has gotten really serious into smartphone photography since the Galaxy Note 4, in which we have commended on its fast response, superb picture clarity and low light capability. The Galaxy S6 edge shares the same camera optics as the S6, sporting a huge f/1.9 aperture and Sony IMX240 sensor that captures 16-megapixel pictures with Optical Image Stabilization, it delivers even faster imaging performance and better pictures that we’ve experienced back in the Galaxy Note 4, the phone has even substituted my mirrorless Lumix G5 when attending events because the camera is seriously that good – superb noise reduction in low light and accurate colors in outdoors, see the images down below to believe it.
And here you go, a selfie from the front camera and we needn’t explain how exceptional its imaging quality is.
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Samsung’s camera software has always been pretty favorable in our past reviews and this time, there are contexts on icons which is good for amateurs and it even explains the camera mode you choose, the Pro mode is also available for advanced users who wants to take control of their photos.
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The Galaxy S6 edge has also become my favorite videography tool, with O.I.S onboard you can actually make pretty good short movie if you are in for it. However I do really wish Samsung could allow video stabilization on UHD video recording as the hardware is definitely capable of doing so, maybe I’m just asking too much as a video guy.

Benchmarks, Battery Life and Network Quality

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There’s so many great things on the Galaxy S6 edge and needless to say, the phone’s powerful hardware internals claims the top of Antutu’s benchmark list and is one of the first phones to be able to achieve 53.8 FPS on Epic Citadel with its 2560×1440 resolution on Ultra High Quality graphics setting, the Galaxy S6 edge’s raw power is definitely unrivalled at this point of time and the Exynos 7420 14nm SoC is the best silicon that Samsung has fabricated. Since the phone is has both steel and glass materials, expect the phone to get warm when it is loaded.

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Here come the really bad thing – Battery life. As Samsung executives used to point out in its launch, the battery is expected to give users a single day of heavy usage and in our tests, the S6 edge fails to deliver that promised battery life and I have to keep a power bank in hand to charge the device in the middle of a busy working day, we could blame the power drain for one thing – the Display. Wireless charging isn’t going to save you.

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Thanks to our favorite telco U Mobile, I have no issues with cell reception on the Galaxy S6 edge with consistent data speeds in good coverage areas, at times I find its reception even better than my iPhone 6 as I have both phones with me all the time and using the same network, business folks will love the phone’s audible loudspeaker for hands free calls.

Verdict – Speechlessly Impressed

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It has been a while Samsung has made me excited with their smartphones, the Galaxy S6 edge is the most beautiful and powerful Android smartphone I have ever used and its down sides isn’t a deal breaker for me at the very least, while many may conclude the Galaxy S6 is the better choice due to its price tag and similar set of features, the Galaxy S6 edge is a phone meant for folks who simply desires a unique looking smartphone with its dual-sided curve display and with that sleek looking design, the S6 edge looks more expensive and premium than any smartphones out there. Let me clarify here, this review isn’t paid bySamsung and as a critic tech reviewer, I am left speechless and impressed with what Samsung has offered on their new smartphone.

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The Good:
+ Monstrous hardware performance
+ Beautiful Quad HD display
+ Impressive camera capabilities
+ Fluid software experience
+ Premium build quality

The Not so Good:
– Expensive
– No expandable storage
– Mediocre battery life
– Some Android features removed
– Phone heats up terribly under heavy load

The Galaxy S6 Edge receives a score of 8.6/10

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